Monday, July 2, 2012

A Soldier and A Princess

Kind of an oxymoron, that title.

Reminds me a bit of Will Turner's "good man and a pirate" description of Jack Sparrow. It's not until after you finish the movie that you actually stop to wonder what on earth that phrase is supposed to mean! :)
I, for one, have to respect what that Hollywood writer was really trying to do. Granted, his or her use of irony was a bit of a fail, but what is irony in the first place? The bringing together of two opposing truths to create a new truth. And as it pertains to split personalities, I believe this line is actually quite clever. Because as most people will tell you, this is a maligment from which I suffer. ;)

On one hand, I love adventure. I enjoy (and have always enjoyed) climbing trees, scaling boulders, cayoning through rivers and streams...I play hard, and I play tough--often forgetting that competition does not mean total annihilation. ;) On the other hand, I'm probobaly the girliest girl you'll ever meet. (Just check out those pictures from my previous post!) What can I say? I grew up wearing dresses and skirts, frills and lace. And though I wouldn't be caught dead in some of things I wore once upon a time *ahem*, I'm still--at heart--a princess in pink.

Over the years though, and especially as a Christian, I've struggled to reconcile these two very different Talias living inside of me. ;) You know, the one who wants to be a Marine and the other who  recoils at the very thought of sleeping in a barracks. (And the third person omniscent who tells me to curl up in a corner with a good book and leave the rest of the world to its vices!)

I've often deliberated over the fine line between being a "tough girl" and being downright masculine. It gets me into trouble now and again because even at nineteen, I sometimes forget that I'm an "adult" and that stick fighting guys isn't so innocent a game as it was when I was nine...unfortunately.

Having grown up in church, I can also remember hearing my Sunday schooler teacher say to the girls: "Now you're all God's princesses. It's your job to try and act like one." Good advice, right? Maybe, except that I took her comment to mean that God wants me to wear my faith as I would a tiara. Daintily. Gracefully. Reagally. As befits a daughter of the King. To some degree, I think she was right. Women are (and should be) the gentler sex, the nurturers, the ones to submit, the helpmate to man, they primary caregivers, etc. But I think we as the Church have taken this notion way too far, to the point where single women are prevented from reaching their God-given potential. What right have we to wear tiaras when the hands of our Savior were skewered with nails?

I've always puzzled over the fact that while many well-meaning Christian parents celebrate women like Elizabeth Elliot and Amy Carmichael in theory, they're dealthy afraid of allowing their daughters to follow their example in practice.

Paul wrote, "There is a difference between a wife and a virgin (or unmarried woman). The unmarried women cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of the world--how she may please her husband. " (1 Cor. 7:34).

I can think of several people who were against the fact that I was getting a job. One girl, in particular, asked why I found it so necessary to seek the "world's employment" when I could find something worthwhile to do at home. Not being the type to beat-around-the-bush, I smiled at her kindly, somewhat frustratedly, and said, "Well, I did that for five years, but I feel that God has me at a different place right now." 

Now I'm not saying that we should throw caution to the wind and dive head first into the world because it needs saving. Not at all. I work in a public place. I'm surrounded by unbelievers. And I see and hear things that I wish I didn't. I'm asked questions I wish I wasn't. People take liberties I wish they wouldn't. I come home feeling like trash. And as the only Christian girl, I somtimes feel completely alone, misued, and emotionally violated. I'm teased, insulted, and thought to be stupid simply because I don't swear, drink, do drugs, have sex, etc. Usually, I don't mind the wear-and-tear of it all. But this past Saturday, things came to a head when I came home seriously hating every single man on the planet. 

And that's when I realized being a single, Christian girl is no cakewalk. Much as I would like to simply hide away in my tower and wait for an adventure to come to me, there's something much bigger to which I have been called. And it doesn't involve marriage.
It's something, I think, we girls don't often stop to think about. Read 2 Timothy 2:3. It says: "You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ." 

Not "can" or "should." Must. I must endure hardship or what? I'm not being a good soldier.

Woah. Wait a second. Me, a soldier?

Um, no thank you.

Herein lies my delimna. ;)

But seriously, think about it. A directive from God Himself. I must endure hardship. Notice it doesn't distinguish who must do the enduring. Men, women, boys, girls, young, old, etc. It simply says must. We must. You must. I must. That aside from all my feminine qualities, I'm a soldier of Christ, first and foremost. I'm supposed to encounter hardship. Which begs the question, if I have no hardship in my life am I really fulfilling my mandate? Does a soldier who never sees action really a deserve to be called a "soldier" at all?

God has called me into my workplace and all the junk that goes on in it because He knows that I am equiped to handle it. That it's time to use all the training I've received at the hands of my parents these 18+ years for a cause greater than myself. After all, what good are Bible verses locked in your memory if you have no opportunity to use them! What good is a sword if you never take the opportunity to thrust a thrust or block a blow! If you are in a place where you have no need to use your knowledge of God's Word on a daily basis, I strongly suggest that you reevaluate your calling. Is the place you're in exactly where God would have you today? And can you answer "yes" beyond a shadow of a doubt?

It's funny. We're coming up on a day when we as a nation celebrate revolution. July 4th, a day when  we remember the men and women who gave their lives in pursuit of liberty. The day revolution took its course. What is not more revolutionary, in this day of Christian apathy, than for us women to consider ourselves soldiers of God? Armed to the teeth, but prepared to bind up the the broken? I hope that when and if I have a daughter, I'll teach her that yes, she is a princess, but more than that, she is a warrior. And I'll expect her to act like her mother did before her.

Yes, most certainly, I am God's princess...

But first and foremost, I am His soldier.
Standing at attention.
Ready for whatever lies around the corner.
Because by some miracle, I have been deemed worthy to bear the cross of Christ.

Two truths. One new reality.

This is life in Christ.


Joseph said...

I can't agree more, Talia. As Paul said in Philippians 2, "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do for his good pleasure." I think about that often. It makes no promise of comfortability. So many Christians say this with words only but not with their hearts. They don't do much. As Christians, our call is to be servants to what God wants us to do and then to do it without questions asked. And no where in the Bible does it say it will be comfortable. Too many Christians are comfortable and are demonstrating that God is not at the center of their lives. We are called to "endure hardship." That's not an easy task. But as soldiers, we don't ask questions we just listen and obey.


Anonymous said...

Wait, first you said you're not getting married, then you talk about having a daughter. Excuse me????


You said, "I'll expect her to act like one (a warrior) her mother did before her."

It should read, " her mother and grandmother were before her (literally - a soldier!)." Wink!

All kidding aside, I don't know what God has in store for you my dear, but I look forward to the adventure and to cheering you on as you run the race He has set before you.

Run hard. Run fast. And, oh yeah, drop and give me 20!

Elle Bee ;)